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Art Or Food? Fair Lawn Mom Opens River Road Bakery

Yanneris Genao is opening Yani's Bake House on River Road in Fair Lawn this month. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Minions like cupcakes, too. Photo Credit: Yanneris Genao
A masquerade-themed cake. Photo Credit: Yanneris Genao
"Naughty or Nice" cakes. Photo Credit: Yanneris Genao
Topsy-turvy jungle cake. Photo Credit: Yanneris Genao
First birthday cake. Photo Credit: Yanneris Genao
Genao's cupcakes. Photo Credit: Yanneris Genao

FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Fair Lawn mom Yanneris "Yani" Genao’s triple-decker, balancing jungle cake looks almost too good to eat.

The same goes for her yellow, purple and green Mardi Gras cake, her colorful French macaroons and her dozens of pastel-frosted cupcakes that she makes special for first communions, baptisms and birthday parties.

But the Dominican Republic native insists her creations are made to be eaten, which is why she’s opening Yani’s Bake House on River Road at the end of February.

"I can't cut my own cakes," said Genao, who discovered her passion for cake-decorating in May 2009, four months after she had her first baby.

“I wasn’t having adult conversations and was caring for a toddler, but needed to find a way to entertain myself,” said Genao, formerly of Ridgefield Park and Paterson. “I started baking for first communions and birthday parties, and people started asking if I could do it for them.”

The first cake Genao made was for her son’s baptism. It was simple, she said: light blue with two, white, baby shoes on top.

Then she made another for his first communion — a colorful, three-tier cake topped with a giant cupcake.

“No one could believe that as a new mom with a baby at home I still managed to pull it off,” said Genao, whose bachelor’s degree in math and science lends to her concoctions in the kitchen. “I was very proud.”

Yani’s Bake House will offer specialty pre-order cakes, dozens of cupcakes, French macaroons and individually packed tres leches cakes in mason jars — a tribute to her native country, Genao said.

She will also be serving vegan breakfast bars, scones and breast-feeding cookies for nursing mothers. The “lactation treats” include special milk-producing ingredients like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ and flax seed, Genao said.

Genao is looking into getting Kosher supervision.

“We take pride in the way we package things,” said Genao, who hopes her bakery will save people trips to New York City just for a $4 cookie. “They’re not only delicious but visually nice, too.”

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